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Securing the House
Old 12-10-2006, 10:25 PM   #1
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Securing the House

DW and I are going to head down to south Texas for a little winter fishing shortly. We'll be gone a couple of weeks. We're not normally away from home much in the winter (usually fish "up nort" in the summer) and were wondering if we should take any steps to secure the house. Our furnace is fairly new and has never given us a hint of trouble, still, I'd hate to come home to frozen pipes. Turn off the water? Anything else?
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-10-2006, 11:08 PM   #2
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Re: Securing the House

There is a similar thread that was recently updated, which I can't seem to find right now.

Turning off the water is a good idea in any case, to keep a small leak from turning into a major disaster. It won't, however, keep your pipes from freezing and bursting in case the furnace quits, since there's still going to be water in the pipes.

If we can't get a friend or neighbor to check in, we pay a pet-sitter $20/visit to check the house, get the mail and any packages, water the plants, etc. It's well worth it to me, so I don't have to worry about the things at home while we're away.

Also, you might want to keep in mind that if you set your thermostat too low, your drywall or plaster may contract enough to develop cracks. I personally like to set ours at about 55 degrees F when we're away.
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 01:24 AM   #3
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Re: Securing the House

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxter
Also, you might want to keep in mind that if you set your thermostat too low, your drywall or plaster may contract enough to develop cracks. I personally like to set ours at about 55 degrees F when we're away.
I just got back studying from studying at the library for a class im taking on insurance and you might want to look into your homeowners policy to see what you should set your temperature at. I know the policy that we studied in class will only pay claims if you make an attempt to keep the temperature at atleast 60 degrees F.

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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 10:38 AM   #4
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Re: Securing the House

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
DW and I are going to head down to south Texas for a little winter fishing shortly. We'll be gone a couple of weeks. We're not normally away from home much in the winter (usually fish "up nort" in the summer) and were wondering if we should take any steps to secure the house. Our furnace is fairly new and has never given us a hint of trouble, still, I'd hate to come home to frozen pipes. Turn off the water? Anything else?
don't know if this is practical where you live (if you are too isolated, may not work), but you can buy gizmos with thermostats. I plug a red lightbulb in and set the thermostat to come on if the house goes below 50 degrees, then leave the themostat set at 60 (furnace warranty is voided if set below 60).

I then tell the neighbor to contact me (message number or cellphone) if she sees the red light come on.

Better than doing nothing, imo.
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 10:56 AM   #5
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Re: Securing the House

If you have an "instant hot" consider either turning it off or tuck a bucket under it.

Secure all your windows and doors. Crack addicts are relentless.
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 11:05 AM   #6
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Re: Securing the House

The post office can hold your mail if you have an outside box and no one to pick it up.

I know there are a variety of different solutions to the furnace failure issue, but I don't know any of the details. Some people I know with cabins that they heat all winter have some sort of furnace alarm but I don't know who it works. I think they use all purpose alarm companies that would also be alerted to a breakin. I also know people who have the ability to check the temperature inside their cabins via phone.

Have lights on a timer and maybe a radio. Have your walks shoveled if it snows.

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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 11:11 AM   #7
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Re: Securing the House

http://www.seattle.gov/police/preven...e_security.htm
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 11:22 AM   #8
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Re: Securing the House

I think it was Circuit City where I saw this modular set of electronic monitors for temperature, motion, smoke, water which you could stragegically place around your house, up to and including video surveillance.

IIRC, when something went amiss, it was programmed to call up to 3 phone numbers (e.g. your cell presumably, maybe a neighbor) with a specific message as to the problem. Without the video is was a few hundred bucks, do-it-yourself deal with battery backup.

Maybe something to consider when we are travelling more post-FIRE.

Commercial alarm and monitor systems always seemed very expensive and plagued with false alarms but I suppose they have their place.
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: Securing the House

First thing I'd do is immediately delete this thread.

Perhaps no one could figure out your address based on your posts here, but you may not be as anonymous as you think. I know I've given away my location without thinking a few times (right, REW?).

Your post announces to the world: "I have lots of money and I'll be gone for a few weeks."

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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 11:39 AM   #10
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Re: Securing the House

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Perhaps no one could figure out your address based on your posts here, but you may not be as anonymous as you think. I know I've given away my location without thinking a few times (right, REW?).
I have no idea what you're talking about. : (BTW, it looks like you have a couple of missing roof shingles about 2 feet east of your chimney.)

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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 12:36 PM   #11
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Re: Securing the House

1. Buy a big, mean dog.
2. Pay sombody to come in and feed the dog.

(that takes care of security!)
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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-11-2006, 01:38 PM   #12
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Re: Securing the House

Thanks everybody! Great comments and info.

I wasn't really referring to preventing burglary, but loved Ron'Da's comment about the "big, mean dog!" Yeah, that's probably the ultimate answer to uninvited guests........

And TA, as far as someone using my post here as an indicator that we're "rich" and going to be away from home......... Wouldn't that be ironic since we are FIRE and have mentioned that, but there is literally nothing of value in our home? Our home is modest and in a blue collar, middle class neighborhood and we don't own any art, fancy electronics, etc. Someone would really be surprised! Of course, that's how we got to FIRE!

It turns out our solution is right here all along. Normally while we're away, out long time nextdoor neighbors and good friends take in our mail and keep it at their house pending our return. Our trips are usually in warm weather, so there's little to go wrong inside the house. This time, we've asked if they wouldn't be so kind as to bring our mail into our house daily and check the temp, etc., and they've agreed. Walking their dog and watching their house so many times over the years while they're away is paying off!

Again, thanks for the comments and discussion!

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Re: Securing the House
Old 12-12-2006, 12:39 AM   #13
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Re: Securing the House

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron'Da
1. Buy a big, mean dog.
2. Pay sombody to come in and feed the dog.

(that takes care of security!)
there were 2 little old ladies in Whitehorse, Yukon. They bought a big mean doberman for protection. Everything worked fine for quite a while. One lady would leave and the dobie would protect the other one. Then one day, both ladies left the house with the dog at home. They had to call the police in order to get back into their house--the dog wouldn't let either of them back in! Turns out, they'd never left the dog alone, and it would keep people out unless the person inside with it told it not to.... True story.
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